Entertainment

Vatican paper blasts Golden Compass, Pullman

After giving the Harry Potter series and The Da Vinci Code the "thumbs down," the Vatican has now offered up its latest pop culture critique by condemning the new children's fantasy film The Golden Compass.

After giving theHarry Potter series and The Da Vinci Code the "thumbs down," the Vatican has offered up its latest pop culture critique by condemning the new children's fantasy film The Golden Compass.

Aside from calling it "the most anti-Christmas film possible," Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Tuesday blasted the recently released blockbuster as "devoid of any particular emotion apart from a great coldness."

The film's modest box office take on its opening weekend in North America "is a consolation," according to the paper.

The Golden Compass — a $150-million US film adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel The Northern Lights, the first book of the British atheistauthor's His Dark Materials trilogy — has drawn heated criticism from a host of religious groups.

Pullman's trilogy centres around a heroic orphan girl living in a fantasy realm led by an evil, church-likegoverning body known as the Magisterium.

Organizations such as the Catholic League have called for a boycott of the film, while a number of schools in Ontario have pulled the original book offtheir shelves for review after receiving complaints from parents.

L'Osservatore Romano's editorial also singled out Pullman for criticism, saying the acclaimed writer advocates "a totally atheist ideology, the enemy of all religions, traditional and institutional, and of Christianity and Catholicism in particular."

In recent years, Vatican officials have spoken out against a number of high-profile cultural phenomena.

Before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger revealed he isn't a fan of J.K. Rowling's massively successful Harry Potter books in a letter to a prominent critic of theteen wizard series.

The Vatican also appointed a high-level official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to rebut the Catholic Church-related conspiracy theories author Dan Brown invokes in his bestselling tome, The Da Vinci Code. Other Vatican officials called for boycotts of the subsequent film version.